|My lovely chain. Somtimes I used just the right amount of solder|
and sometimes I got lazy and cut too big a piece.
|These modified rings would be great chain 'stations' or post earring elements.|
The half ring is held in place with a third hand while soldering.
Sarah uses black welder's flux called 'Stay Silv' most often when soldering steel, but admits that traditional, white, 'Handi Flux' works too, it just doesn't offer as much working time as black flux does. There's no specific solder for steel, so we used medium silver solder (you can, of course, also use the beautiful but spendy 18K gold solder if you wish). We bridged our work over two firing bricks, so that we could get the flame under the seams and draw the solder down. A metal tripod would have been too much of a heat sink.
|Rachel Rader's line of jump rings turned bangle bracelet.|
On Saturday we learned to saw mild or stainless steel sheet to make other elements. Never use good tools on steel! Sheet metal cutters (guillotine sheers and the like) will dull and get chewed up by steel. Also keep steel away from a rolling mill for the same reasons. We used a #3 blade to cut our small squares of metal. Sarah had to take the big sheets she had brought to the university to cut into sample sizes for us. You could ask your vendor to cut the sheet, but there would most likely be a charge for this service. Mild steel is easier to saw and to solder, but stainless is... well... stainless. So it doesn't tarnish or rust as easily. The emphasis in on stain LESS, not stain free. Use a sealant like Renaissance Wax or a similar product to protect the surface of mild steel for about a year or so.
|My slotted earrings. Well, they're almost earrings. Any day now...|
We learned how to use slots to build dimension into our work, score a line with a triangle or square file to make a sharp bend, do solder inlay, place oxidized work in muriatic acid (get it at the hardware store) for a super fast pickle clean up, use both heat and gun bluing for patina, and to use Super Sunsheen Polishing liquid in the tumbler to condition not only the shot, but the finished jewelry. Sarah has some mild steel pieces that haven't rusted in over a year when tumbled with Super Sunsheen.
|Class samples. Notice the little blue rectangle on the 2nd sheet of paper?|
That's silver solder inlay in mild steel with gun bluing patina.
Thanks for a great class Sarah! It was a wonderful 3 day treat.